Ballroom Dance > Cost of Pro/Am Comp

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by standardgirl, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. standardgirl

    standardgirl New Member

    Just got a packet from one of my teachers for the coming competition. and YES, the oringinal prices are NOT on there (he replaced the price with what I have to pay him). I understand that there is supposed to be a markup and I am WILLING to pay for the extra money for him spending his time with me, but I would just like to know what's a reasonable markup? How do most teachers charge their students?

    Some teachers charge a flat rate with a limitation on the number of entries a student may have. For example: X dollars for maximun of Y entries. Some teachers charge a price per dance. What does your teacher do? How much does he charge? What do you think is a reasonale price?
  2. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    Wow -- no takers on this???

    Okay; I'll start....

    My studio generally doubles the cost of what the organizers charge per dance.
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hmm. Yes. I'm also surprised there are no takers. A former instructor of mine charged not quite double what the organizers charged for entry fees. He added a per-charge dance fee that was not quite double what the organizers charged. Then he calculated out his regular hourly lesson rate for the comp day hours, and divided it among the students participating, which I think is quite fair. He also added extra lessons for the students who were willing/able to pay, and urged us all to take a one-session comp prep class that he gave us for free. (Current students of his who do comps do a multi-session comp prep class that they pay group class rates for.)

    I get the feeling that he was in the more ethical camp of studios/instructors ... although, to be honest, I'm not sure. :?
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I guess my bottom line is that, if the total cost makes you wince, ask questions (either of your teacher, in DF, or somewhere else) before you sign in the dotted line. Not everybody is ethical. Some teachers really are, but not everybody is. :?
  5. Laura

    Laura New Member

    I've danced Pro/Am at two different studios, one on the East Coast and one on the West.

    One studio never gave us any handouts, they just told us what the package rate cost and what it included. Unfortunately, this was always many more dances than I wanted to enter and much more money than I wanted to spend. So, I'd go to the manager and tell him that I was willing to enter X dances and didn't need the hotel, so what would my cost be? He'd always say "well, I'll have to talk to the organizers to see if they'll let you go a la carte" and he always came back a couple of days later with a price that was much more appealing to me and only included entering the number of events that I actually wanted to enter. Seems they'd rather have *some* of my money than NONE of my money :)

    The other studio had nothing to do with my Pro/Am participation. It was all handled directly between my teacher and myself. For local competitions, he charged the wholesale prices plus a per-dance fee plus the cost of his ballroom tickets divided by the number of students who were attending the comp. For competitions that we'd have to travel to, he'd also add on a share of his plane ticket and hotel, it would be divided amongst all travelling students. If we were going to a competition that took him out of the studio longer than he would have gone if he were just going to dance with his pro partner (e.g., a comp like Ohio where he didn't dance until Friday but some of us would dance on Wednesday or Thursday), he'd sometimes tack on a share of the income that would have come in from teaching on the days he took off for us.

    I don't know what is "fair," as that differs from person to person except in really egregious cases. Here's what I consider to be egregious: I once corresponded with a person who was outraged because the studio was not only charging an approximate 400% mark-up but also threatened to shun this person if they did not buy the package. And this was just for the hotel room and ballroom tickets. No dance entries, and no plane tickets. The person figured out that they could buy the package from the organizer PLUS the plane tickets AND a rental car and still pay less than what the studio was charging for just the hotel and the ballroom tickets.

    Fortunately it's not always like this.

    The per-dance fee is really variable. It can range from as little as $10 per dance to as much as $100,000 for a competition.

    If it costs $35 (from the organizers) to enter a dance event and your studio is charging, say, up to another $50 to cover the cost of your teaching dancing with you, then that's definitely in the realm of average. That's a bit more than double, but it seems in the customary range. Obviously if your teacher is in high demand or is (or was) one of the top competitiors nationally, then it's possible you'll pay much more I don't know, like I said the range is very very wide. After all, you're paying for this person's talent and experience and time and effort.
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yep, Laura. There are definitely some bad guys out there. In the comp I mentioned, I paid just shy of $1500 and danced 20 heats. Some people I talked to at that same comp paid multiples of what I paid.

    And then, of course, there's the old piling on the heats trick. At my old studio, I got to pick which dances I wanted to dance, and what levels, without interference or influence from the teacher (actually, quite a nice guy.) Some studios urge students to enter every heat and/or dance allowable under competition rules. That can add up to quite a few heats -- in the hundreds-of-heats (thousands of dollars) range, for some people -- and cost quite a lot of money. Please be careful.
  7. labelledanseuse

    labelledanseuse New Member

    I was also wondering what the usual cost is for Pro/Am competitions. I'm thinking of doing one in April. My teacher explained to me that I will do 4 choreographed dances for $475 (I'm under 18 so it costs less for me- he said the price for adults is $510). Do those prices sound like they're in a reasonable range for a Mini Match competition?
  8. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Are you entering four solo events where you pick the music, dance a special routine for that music, and you and your teacher are the only ones on the floor? Or are you doing freestyle/group events, where there are multiple couples on the floor at once and you don't choose the music?

    If it's solo events, then I have no idea what the prices usually run so I can't give you any advice there. If it's freestyle/group events, then I'll just say that I paid less than that per dance to dance freestyle/group events at the United States DanceSport Championships the last time I went -- and I'm an adult.

    What else does that fee they quoted you include besides the entry fee and the per-dance fee for your teacher? Do you get meals, ballroom tickets, a program, or anything else? Sometimes the packages make sense once you know what's in them. There's a couple of comps I go to that I always buy the package because it's about the same price as if I had bought everything separately, and I don't mind paying a little extra for the added convenience.
  9. Dancing4Life

    Dancing4Life New Member

    I danced pro-am with a couple of instructors and the payment was always between the two of us, with no studio involvment.

    1.) $ 25 per dance (regardless of number of rounds), $ 125 for multi-dance events (regardless of number of rounds). I covered his flight and hotel, entry to ballroom, entries. Not food etc.

    2.) $ 30 per dance, $ 150 per multidance (regardless of number of rounds). Paid for his hotel, flight/car, entry to ballroom, entries, etc. No food.

    3.) $ 50 per dance FIRST ROUND, $ 30 each dance BEYOND the first round. (now I think he charges $ 50 / $ 50). Paid for hotel, flight/car, entry to ballroom, entries. No food.

    I've heard a -to me-ridiculous figure - for some pro-am entries: $ 3,500 for 10 dances (included travel etc for pro), $ 3,800 or so to go to the Hawaii Star Ball.

    I think the $ 475 figure sounds right, especially if it includes your choice of music and some lessons. If it is only for dancing the solos at the comp I think it is a bit too much...
  10. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Eeek...I went to the OhioStar Ball, danced 10 dances plus one scholarship, and split my teacher's travel expenses four ways. Even if you add in MY plane ticket and hotel (which I shared with two other students), the price tag didn't even come close to $3800.

    But then, it can sometimes depends on the teacher. Like I said, a person can spend big big $$$$$ when they dance with some of the top European pros who are now starting to do Pro/Am. Depending on the details, $3800 can sound like a good deal :)
  11. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I think the $475 figure sounds great! :lol: :lol: Have fun. 8)
  12. standardgirl

    standardgirl New Member

    My teacher charges $750 for approx 20 freestyle entries. This includes the entry fees, his markups, and his everyting. He doesn't have anything cheaper. It's the same price for up to about 20 entries. He tries to make his competitive students all dance about 15 to 20 something entries. We will be doing anywhere from 17 to 22 entries. The price includes only what I pay him, and then if I want to be on a package, I pay for that as well, or just hotel rooms, or whatever I want at the market price, no markups. How does this sound?
  13. ReneeJoan

    ReneeJoan New Member

    I entered a DanceSport competition last year -- The Emerald Ball here in Los Angeles. For my event, Argentine Tango, they were having a new special thing -- single dance championships -- so I entered one dance and danced one heat. For that, my teacher initially told me the price was $185.

    Later, he said the price was only $125, and that I should pay him whatever I felt was appropriate. At first I was kind of mad -- I'd had no idea he was expecting to be paid, and we nearly got into a huge ugly fight over it. But I'd never done anything like this before, so I had no idea how the "game" was played. After I cooled off and thought about it a little, I decided that offering to pay him for his time was only fair -- after all, he had to cancel a whole day's worth of private lessons in order to do that competition with me, and I figured I owed him something for that, and that was only fair and reasonable.

    In the end, I gave him $175, which is what he usually gets for doing a show at a night club (after he's given his partner her share). I actually told him I didn't think it was appropriate at all, but it was the best I could afford, and he said that was fine. When I think about the five privates he had to cancel that day ($375), I think he was being pretty decent about it.

    I'm doing another competition next week, and because it's not a DanceSport competition, the entry fee was only $25 for each of us, $8 per dance we've entered (I'm doing one dance, intermediate level tango), and $175 for his time.

  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Umm... where is your teacher? I need to call him up. :roll: :wink: :lol: :lol: Sounds way good to me.

    I guess it depends on the comp and the entry status. I'm pretty sure youth or student entries are less expensive, even for pro-am. But those are good prices, IMO. I've seen a couple wholesaler packages, and even the wholesale per-dance fee isn't cheap, in many cases. It sounds like he's cutting you a break since he has so many students entering.

    Excellent. Have a blast. 8)
  15. Laura

    Laura New Member

    It is an EXCELLENT price. Go for it.
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yep. I thought the same, but didn't want to misguide anyone with just one person's opinion. 8)
  17. randomMysh

    randomMysh New Member

    OMG, that is obsenely expensive. I don't mean the price chiwenl quoted, just pro/am in general. I've never done any pro/am, and a good thing, too--I'd be living on the streets! :shock:
    No wonder the ballroom world is placing such an emphasis on competing!
  18. standardgirl

    standardgirl New Member

    It's a local comp, but a fairly big pro/am comp, with $4000 awarded to first top teacher. He is staying at the hotel. He charges the same price for all comp within a reasonable driving distance (like less than 6 hours or something like that?) The cutting price part sounds reasonable since he told me he had over 300 entries last year, and he is expecting about 500 this year........He was a youth champion, but he doesn't compete as a pro anymore. He only does pro/am's now.

    I am glad that thie is a good price! :D It makes me feel a lot better! :D btw, I am entering adult A pro/am events, so I am, or he is, actually paying the regular entry price. I am not good enough to compete in under 21..... :lol:
  19. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    I'm shocked...

    So pro/am people actually think that a comp experience is worth few thousand dollars.
    One thing I know for sure now is that I'll never compete pro/am.
  20. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Not all Pro/Am people spend a couple thousand dollars per comp. Some spend a lot more, some spend significantly less. I usually spent well under $500 per comp.

    When I was doing Pro/Am competitions I felt they were worth it for many reasons and for many years. I really enjoyed it and am not sorry for a single penny spent. I think it's a great program so long as people understand what they are getting into both financially and competition-wise, and what their options are.

    In other words, I'm all for people doing Pro/Am because they want to, but not because they don't realize that amateur partnerships exist. That, unfortunately, was the way it was at the first studio I danced at. I had no idea that there were such things as amateur competitions, no one ever mentioned the topic, and there were no amateur couples at the franchise-based competitions I attended. Then I took a 3 1/2 year break, changed studios, and when I came back was introduced to a much larger world. I kept doing Pro/Am, though, because I wanted and needed to start over again and Pro/Am was all I felt comfortable with. I was terrified of taking group classes because I felt I was a terrible dancer. It took me six months of twice weekly privates before I joined my first group class ever.

    From then on while I was doing Pro/Am I also looked for an amateur partner. I danced in several short-lived amateur partnerships over the years. I really appreciated the stability of dancing with my teacher -- he was always there, very consistent and very professional. No fighting, no weird interpersonal relationships, no flaking on lessons or practice. Then, after six years I met the partner who I just knew was "the right one", and after a while stopped doing Pro/Am because I'd rather just dance with him than with my teacher. We were suposed to dance our second competition together this weekend, but I've been sidelined with a horrible cold. Sigh. Well, there's always next time!

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